The territory straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers was considered a good place to build settlements. The Antioch Christian Church , Dr. French cartographer Guillaume Delisle used the descriptions to make the area's first reasonably accurate map. The Spanish took over the region in the Treaty of Paris in , but were not to play a major role other than taxing and licensing Missouri River ship traffic.
The French continued their fur trade under Spanish license. The Chouteau family operated under Spanish license at St. After the Louisiana Purchase , Lewis and Clark visited the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, noting it was a good place to build a fort. In , a group of Mormons from New York settled in what would become the city.
They built the first school within Kansas City's current boundaries, but were forced out by mob violence in and their settlement remained vacant. Soon after, the Kansas Town Company, a group of investors, began to settle the area, taking their name from an English spelling of "Cansez.
On February 22, , the City of Kansas was created with a newly elected mayor. It had an area of 0. The boundary lines at that time extended from the middle of the Missouri River south to what is now Ninth Street, and from Bluff Street on the west to a point between Holmes Road and Charlotte Street on the east.
Kansas successfully petitioned the U. Missouri had many slaves, and slavery sympathizers crossed into Kansas to sway the state towards allowing slavery , at first by ballot box and then by bloodshed. A cannon and plaques mark the location of the Battle of Westport within modern day Loose Park. During the Civil War, the city and its immediate surroundings were the focus of intense military activity. Although the First Battle of Independence in August resulted in a Confederate States Army victory, the Confederates were unable to leverage their win in any significant fashion, as Kansas City was occupied by Union troops and proved too heavily fortified to assault.
The Second Battle of Independence , which occurred on October 21—22, as part of Sterling Price 's Missouri expedition of , also resulted in a Confederate triumph. Once again their victory proved hollow, as Price was decisively defeated in the pivotal Battle of Westport the next day, effectively ending Confederate efforts to regain Missouri.
Joseph Railroad bridge over the Missouri River brought about significant growth. The population exploded after , when the Hannibal Bridge, designed by Octave Chanute , opened. The boom prompted a name change to Kansas City in , and the city limits to be extended south and east.
Westport became part of Kansas City on December 2, In , Kansas City was the 22nd largest city in the country, with a population of , residents. Long , president of the Liberty Memorial Association, was a driving force in the funding for construction.
Long was a longtime resident and wealthy businessman. He built the R. Nichols in , as part of his Country Club District plan. Pendergast era[ edit ] At the start of the 20th century, political machines gained clout in the city, with the one led by Tom Pendergast dominating the city by Several important buildings and structures were built during this time, including the Kansas City City Hall and the Jackson County Courthouse.
The machine fell in when Pendergast, riddled with health problems, pleaded guilty to tax evasion after long federal investigations. His biographers have summed up Pendergast's uniqueness: Pendergast may bear comparison to various big-city bosses, but his open alliance with hardened criminals, his cynical subversion of the democratic process, his monarchistic style of living, his increasingly insatiable gambling habit, his grasping for a business empire, and his promotion of Kansas City as a wide-open town with every kind of vice imaginable, combined with his professed compassion for the poor and very real role as city builder, made him bigger than life, difficult to characterize.
The city's first suburbs were in the neighborhoods of Pendleton Heights and Quality Hill. Many also went north of the Missouri River , where Kansas City had incorporated areas between the s and s. In , African Americans represented The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
At this time, slums were forming in the inner city, and many who could afford to do so, left for the suburbs and outer edges of the city. The city's population continued to grow, but the inner city declined. The city's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic whites,  declined from The Hyatt Regency walkway collapse was a major disaster that occurred on July 17, , killing people and injuring more than others during a tea dance.
At the time, it was the deadliest structural collapse in US history. One of the main goals is to attract convention and tourist dollars, office workers, and residents to downtown KCMO.
By , the arena was being converted to a sports complex under the name Hy-Vee Arena. Construction is expected to start in early with Loews as the operator. The area has grown from almost 4, residents in the early s to nearly 30, as of Conversions of office buildings such as the Power and Light Building, Commerce Bank Tower, and others into residential and hotel space has helped to fulfill the demand.
AMC and other top employers moved their operations to modern office buildings in the suburbs. High office vacancy plagued downtown, leading to the neglect of many office buildings. Swiss Re, Virgin Mobile, AutoAlert, and others have begun to move operations to downtown Kansas City from the suburbs as well as expensive coastal cities. Route 71 , a thoroughfare long notorious for fatal accidents. In , voters approved the formation of a TDD to expand the streetcar line south 3.
City Wide, voter support for rail projects continues to grow with numerous light rail projects in the works. For the time being, the line is being converted to a trail while county officials negotiate with railroads for access to tracks in Downtown Kansas City.
Kansas City proper is bowl-shaped and is surrounded to the north and south by glacier -carved limestone and bedrock cliffs. Kansas City is at the junction between the Dakota and Minnesota ice lobes during the maximum late Independence glaciation of the Pleistocene epoch. The Kansas and Missouri rivers cut wide valleys into the terrain when the glaciers melted and drained.
A partially filled spillway valley crosses the central city. This valley is an eastward continuation of the Turkey Creek Valley. It is the closest major city to the geographic center of the contiguous United States, or "Lower 48". Cityscape[ edit ] A panoramic view from the top of Liberty Memorial looking north to downtown. Union Station is in the foreground and the Crown Center to the right. Kansas City, Missouri, comprises more than  neighborhoods, some with histories as independent cities or as the sites of major events.